Ayrton was recently delighted to receive this message from lighting designer Phil Kong of Kong Design, Inc.: “We just used 20 Ayrton Diablo’s on Ghost: Nachricht von Sam for ShowSlot GmbH and I wanted to let you know I was very happy with them for all of the things they were able to do, and how fast they were. The flat field, the gobos, the colour rendering – a lot of good things going on with them – and the size and price point are great. I was so glad to have these Ayrton fixtures on the show.” Naturally, Ayrton just had to find out more!

Co-written by Glen Ballard and Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart, Ghost: Nachricht von Sam is a beautiful re-telling of the film classic which is currently touring several major German-speaking cities until the end of April.

As the tour’s lighting designer, Kong rigged five of Ayrton’s versatile, feature-rich, ultra-compact 300W Diablo fixtures across the downstage truss, three across the upstage truss, six as head highs on the booms (three on each side) and three on each side of the stage to be used as high sides on the stage left and right trusses.

He explains how Diablo came to be chosen: “When we were designing Ghost: Nachricht von Sam, one of the stipulations from the producer, ShowSlot GmbH, was that our entire show would be on a ground support truss. Our whole rig needed to be small and extremely versatile, with every fixture serving a variety of functions, not the least of which was doubling as automated spot tracking fixtures. Each fixture type also needed to be easily maintainable on tour. That limited us primarily to fast, lightweight LED fixtures with framing shutters, rotating gobos and CMY mixing all with a good zoom range. It doesn’t leave you with a lot of options, and of the options we looked at the Diablos were the clear winner. It was actually one of the fixtures we locked in early on in the process because it ticked all the boxes we needed.

“We use the Diablos most often to carve out acting areas on stage, and provide height and shape through the air both with and without gobos dropped in. The nice even field is amazing when it comes to creating gobo washes across the stage or for aerial effects during some of the show’s more flashy numbers.

“We had the Diablos hung everywhere around the stage for which I was really glad. They really became the workhorse of our show, whether it was to project a window or, for our flashiest number, Weit Weg von Hier, to accent all of the musical hits. For that number we were doing a ton of colour fades and intensity hits in zero counts. The Diablos performed admirably and at our throw distances they were punchy enough to cut through the haze and make the actors’ sequinned dresses really pop.”

Kong also used the Diablo fixtures as onstage automated followspots. “They surprised us with how well and how quickly they tracked the actors, who were often running around the stage. We used them as back spots and sidelight spots, often with a clean hard edge, punching through the rest of the colour we threw onto the stage.”

Diablo’s compact form factor is also proving its’ worth on the tour, able to handle both the variety of venues and make load-ins and techs quicker and easier. “This tour goes to venues of all shapes and sizes, and our fixtures need to be capable of handling trims that vary drastically from 4m tall to 7m, so Diablo’s large zoom range was a must,” says Kong.

“Being lightweight and fast, and especially the fantastic indexing for the gobos, were also incredibly important features for the success of our tour. Our set is a grid of lines and many of our gobos are geometric so you really see when the gobos aren’t aligned well. Most of the load-ins are only a day, or ¾ of a day long, and with 109 presets to update before the show runs, the lighting team needs to spend as little time as possible fiddling with gobo indexing.

“Our show also involves lots of moving slider panels that whip around the stage. The quick and accurate movement of the framing shutters helped us keep the entire show looking clean, even when sliders would move between the actors and the fixtures.”

This was the first time Kong, who has previously used Ayrton MagicDot R and DreamPanel Twin, has incorporated Diablo into his design. “I was very happy with their performance,” he concludes.

The Ayrton Diablo fixtures were supplied for the tour by Sonelight & Neumann GmbH. The lighting programmer was Andreas Schäffer and the associate lighting designer, Teresa Nagel.

Text: Julie Harper
Photos:
DSCF 5083/ 5091/ 5096/ 5104/ 5151 to © Phil Kong – Instagram @kongdesigner

Feb 22 2022 2754 to © David Schmelzer – Instagram @schmelllo

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